Friday, August 29, 2014

Why I Believe: Evidence Seventeen: Joseph Smith “Burst Onto The Public Scene”

101 Reasons Why I Believe Joseph Smith Was a Prophet

Evidence Seventeen: 
Joseph Smith “Burst Onto The Public Scene”© 
(Updated 10 September 2014)

In 2005 Richard Bushman, noted historian and author, published an acclaimed biography of the Prophet Joseph Smith(1) and in the same year an interesting essay comparing the early lives of Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.(2) In one of its more insightful sections–“personal growth”–professor Bushman points out the similar backgrounds of the young men who were only three years apart in age–Joseph being born first. Both were born in rural agrarian environments and had relatively mobile parents moving from one location to another. Both were accustomed to hard work, and both had probably a year of formal schooling. The circumstances of neither young man portended future greatness; they both lived private and obscure lives. Both ended up in Illinois from 1839-44, yet they did not meet, but Lincoln knew of Joseph Smith, and Joseph may have known of Lincoln, though it is uncertain.  

Interestingly, both launched their future careers during their twenty-second to twenty-fifth years, but their adolescences exhibited considerably different characteristics. Lincoln showed more interest in books and learning as well as an interest in words and writing in his earlier years than Joseph did. So Lincoln began studying grammar and mathematics to improve his writing and thinking, and reading law. According to his mother, Joseph was not inclined toward reading, but was given more to “deep study”–i.e., thinking and pondering. The subjects he concerned himself with were the state of his soul and religious matters.

An additional point of comparison leads us to a profound insight.  According to Bushman, Lincoln’s ascent began at the bottom. Though he developed skills as a storekeeper, public speaker, surveyor, and lawyer his first run for public office was a failure. Unlike Lincoln, Bushman says Joseph Smith “burst onto the public scene with a masterpiece, the Book of Mormon, one of the world’s most influential books.”(3) In 1827 when Joseph was twenty-two years old he obtained the plates and the interpreters from Moroni. With the aid of his wife and Martin Harris, he began to translate. He lost the first manuscript and dictated a revelation he was given reproving him. It became an early revelation in the Book of Commandments to be published in 1833. For 18 months between the winter of 1828 and the summer of 1829 Joseph translated, but the bulk of the work was in a three month period. It was a book of more than 580 pages of history, journeys, wars,  sermons, prophecies, visions, and miracles. “The young man who was not known to have read a book or preached a sermon produced a book full of sermons and theological declarations”(4) which came off the press in March of 1830.  Joseph was three months into his twenty-fifth year. A flurry of activity immediately followed and continued unabated for fourteen years.

Just weeks after the publication of The Book of Mormon Joseph organized a church of which he was the presiding elder. A revelation given at the time provided guidance for the new church by way of doctrines and ordinances, and a beginning of an official priesthood. During that momentous event the Lord also gave Joseph Smith a revelation mandating that a record be kept of the history of the Church, a monumental undertaking that continues to the present day. “Then, [after publishing the Book of Mormon] without pause, he went on to the ... heaven-daring task of revising the Holy Bible.”(5)   Regarding that monumental effort which took place from about July 1830 until the summer of 1833, JST scholar Kent Jackson has written:
“At the time he began it, he was a twenty-four-year-old living in the wilderness of North America, with no academic training and no worldly background or skills, taking on the task of making changes in the Holy Bible, the cornerstone of Western civilization.  It was an audacious undertaking, but it was something the Lord instructed the Prophet to do.”(6)
Also, within three months of the Church’s organization Samuel Smith, Joseph’s brother, was serving as one of the church’s first missionaries.  

In the fall of 1830 Joseph sent four missionaries to begin preaching to the Indians, identified in the Book of Mormon as part of God’s chosen people. Although not particularly successful among the Indians, they were successful in converting a large number of people in the Kirtland, Ohio area who were followers of Alexander Campbell and Sidney Rigdon. More than 1000 eventually formed a nucleus of the new church. The Lamanite missionaries were also to locate the site of the New Jerusalem, also spoken of in the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible. It was to be the city of Zion, built in preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming. Their journey took them 1,500 miles to the western border of Missouri. Their work led to the establishing of a colony in Independence, Missouri, and soon to the drawing up of the plat of Zion with the Lord’s temple at its center.  

Meanwhile, in the new year of 1831, the first bishop was called and the law of consecration introduced into the Church. During the spring Joseph received revelations directing him to journey to Missouri with the promise that there the Lord would designate the land of Zion and the spot for the Temple. More than a dozen pairs of missionaries were called to meet Joseph and others in Missouri in the summer. They preached the gospel on their way, baptizing a number of people who would subsequently play important secondary roles in the Church’s early history. Others were directed to “gather” to Missouri.  

Lest you think this was all going on unnoticed by the larger world around Palmyra, New York, it is of interest to note that one of America’s most enterprising journalists, James Gordon Bennett, editor of the New York Morning Courier and Enquirer, visited western New York for two months (12 June to 18 August 1831) to investigate the new religion. On a canalboat from Utica to Syracuse, the Book of Mormon was one of two books on the table in the boat’s reading room. Bennett’s journal shows that he discussed Mormonism in Geneva, New York, about sixteen miles southeast of the Smith farm, and in Canandaigua, ten miles south of the farm. He later used notes he kept to write a two-part feature story which appeared in the Morning Courier and Enquirer on 31 August and 1 September 1831. Though his article betrays some “contemporary attitudes” toward the “Mormonites,” the article, according to Leonard Arrington, also suggests the “rapidity with which misinformation was conveyed by the press.” But to me, one of the most intriguing statements in the entire piece was highlighted by Bushman in his article.  Bennett, speaking to his readers wrote, “You have heard of MORMONISM–who has not?”(7) In August of 1831! An exaggeration to be sure. Or was it? Nevertheless, not everyone had heard of Lincoln’s work by 1834, when he was the same age as Joseph, or 1844 for that matter.

In Missouri a revelation to Joseph specified that Independence, Missouri is the location of the city of Zion.  Joseph designated the site for the temple and it was dedicated. Significantly, ten revelations in the present Doctrine and Covenants were given regarding this trip to Missouri.(8) Back in Ohio, Joseph and Emma moved to Hiram, Ohio to live with the John Johnson family. Here he continued his work on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible and received a number of important revelations in connection with it. That November a conference decided to publish those and other revelations. Their initial plan was to produce 10,000 copies!

One more point is of interest regarding the years 1830-31, Joseph’s twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth years. It pertains to these revelations.  An analysis of the revelations given to Joseph Smith by year indicates that he received nineteen in 1830, and 1831 led all the rest with 38, which is 28% of the total, and Grant Underwood says if we consider word count it "bumps this figure to over 30 percent." Why so many in this period? First, the church was newly organized and there were many questions to be answered. Second, the First Lamanite Mission and Joseph’s subsequent visit to Missouri generated or were part of ten or more revelations. Third, this was a period of work on the JST. In Section 42, given in February of 1831, early in the JST project, Joseph was instructed to ask questions during the process.(9) In addition to corrections to the Bible, a number of the answers he received were full blown revelations later included in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Regarding the revelations given in the year 1830, the authors of one of the most respected of D&C commentaries wrote in summary:
If we consider only the work accomplished during this one year; or study, in their practical bearing upon human affairs, the wonderful truths revealed, we are overwhelmed with the vastness of the vistas opened up before us. It is like trying to penetrate the infinite depths of space, where the handiworks of God bear witness of His majesty, wisdom, power, and love, and where each glistening spark of light, on close examination, turns out to be a world.(10)
And summarizing those given in 1831 they say:
There is a wonderful feature connected with these Revelations–their Unity. Although neither the Prophet Joseph nor his associates had any pre-arranged plan regarding the work in which they were engaged, yet every Revelation fits into its place perfectly, as does each separate stone which the skillful architect lays in the walls of his magnificent cathedral, and as we follow the development from Section to Section, we perceive that there is a plan so grand, so beautiful, and so well adapted to human needs, as to leave no room for doubt concerning its divine origin. Each Revelation, considered by itself, though full of beauty, may be but a stone detached from the building to which it belongs, but seen as a part of the entire structure, it speaks with convincing eloquence of its wisdom, power, and love of the Divine Builder of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ.(11)
Such comparison between two great early Americans is calculated to inspire the question: “What is the reason that Joseph Smith, relatively poor, private, obscure, and uneducated “burst onto the public scene” without the kind of apparent preparation and ambition which accompanied Lincoln’s gradual rise to prominence?” In a word the answer is revelation!  I believe it was because he was called by God as a prophet, prepared spiritually by Moroni and other angelic beings, endowed with the gift to translate the record of the Book of Mormon and to receive revelation upon revelation–each a world of light and truth, each a unified part of the whole which when seen from the macro-distance is a magnificent cathedral.

Thank God for Joseph Smith!

Let’s think together again, soon.

Notes:

1. Richard L. Bushman and Jed Woodworth, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2005).

2. Richard L. Bushman, “Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.”  In Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration, editor not named, 89-108. The 34th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005. President Calvin Coolidge wrote in a preface to a short book on Lincoln: "When Americans cease to admire Abraham Lincoln the Union which he perpetuated will be no more. The strongest proof of the continued power of Lincoln's legacy is the  ceaseless publication of books about him. His greatness increases with each exploration.  It has not been bounded. The authority of his words grows with time. He  spoke and lived the truth.
     The practice of canonization is inherent in the human mind. Men of the past grow into giants, history takes the form of the good old days,  all deeds become  heroic. This has advantage, it is inspiring; but it is not human experience, and it is not true. There is too much written of what men think of Lincoln in proportion to that which tells [us instead] what he was. He does not need to be glorified.  That but degrades. To idealize him destroys him. The greatest inspiration his life can give is in the whole truth about him. Leave him as he is. He came from the soil, he was born of the people,  he lived their life. To make it all heroic, like giving him drawing-room airs, destroys the mighty strength of his example."  [Calvin Coolidge, in Charles C. Johnson, Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons  from America's Most Underrated President, (New York: Encounter Books, 2013, p. 107.]  I think this same sentiment applies to Joseph Smith.

3. Bushman, “Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln,” p. 96, emphasis added.

4. Ibid., 95, emphasis added. Not only did Joseph Smith “burst” on the American scene with the Book of Mormon, but noted American Historian Gordon Wood argued that the book itself came on the scene at the right time in America’s history. It would probably not have been published in the largely oral world of folk beliefs of the 18th century; it may have been “too easily stifled and dismissed by the dominant enlightened gentry culture as just another enthusiastic folk superstition.” If it came following the spread of science and consolidation of authority in the middle decades of the 19th century “it might have had problems verifying its texts and revelations.” However, “during the early decades of the nineteenth century, the time was ideally suited for the establishment of the new faith. The democratic revolution was at its height, all traditional authorities were in disarray, and visions and prophesying still had a powerful appeal for large numbers of people.” See, Gordon S. Wood, “Evangelical America and Early Mormonism,” in Dean L. May and Reid L. Neilson, The Mormon History Association Tanner Lectures: The first Twenty Years (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2006), p. 26.

5. Bushman, "Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln," p. 96.

6.  Kent P. Jackson, “1830: Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible,” in Joseph Smith the Prophet & Seer, edited by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Kent P. Jackson, 55.  Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2010.

7. Leonard J. Arrington, “James Gordon Bennett’s 1831 Report on ‘The Mormonites.’” Brigham Young University Studies 10 (Spring 1970): 357, emphasis added, other specific citations above found on 354 and 356.  See also Bushman, “Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln,” p. 96. Though the Book of Mormon did not have a favorable reputation in the publishing world during the early days of the Church, just three of literally hundreds of examples which may be cited showing the widespread interest and publicity it received at this time are: Alexander Campbell, “Delusions,” Millennial Harbinger 2 (7 February 1831):90, 93; later published as a pamphlet, Delusions. An Analysis of the Book of Mormon; with an Examination of its Internal and External Evidences, and a Refutation of its Pretences to Divine Authority (Boston: Benjamin H. Greene, 1832); Jason Whitman, “The Book of Mormon,” The Unitarian 1 (1 January 1834): 47-48, and Edward Strut Abdy, Journal of a Residence and Tour in the United States of North America, from April, 1833 to October, 1834 (London: J. Murray, 1835), 55-56.

8. Sections 52, 54-62.

9. D&C 42:56-58. For statistics on the number of revelations given per year, see Grant Underwood, "1831: A Flood of Revelations,"  in Joseph Smith the Prophet & Seer, edited by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Kent P. Jackson, 77-78.  Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2010. Seventy-seven of the sections in our present Doctrine and Covenants, or 56% of the total, were received during the three-year period Joseph worked on the Translation of the Bible. As noted in the text, a number of these have a direct relationship to that work and others my yet prove to be linked to the JST.

10. Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, The Doctrine and Covenants Containing Revelations given to Joseph Smith, Jr., The Prophet with an Introduction and Historical and Exegetical Notes, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927), 254-55, emphasis added.

11. Ibid., 532-33, emphasis added.  For a review of the "flood of revelations" given in this year and the themes they treat, see Underwood, "1831: A Flood of Revelations," pp. 77-100.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About The Temple

[Introduction: The following address by President Ezra Taft Benson is another masterpiece regarding temple doctrine. One thing that fascinates me about it is despite its treatment of what most would call deep doctrines such as the “fulness of the priesthood,” the President refers to this information three times as “background” necessary to properly understand the temple.  

As I am wont to do, I once again recommend to readers of this blog to make an outline of this talk.  I have done so and others who have taken this suggestion agree that the process of making an outline opens one’s eyes more clearly to President Benson’s thinking through seeing the way he organizes and presents his thoughts. It at once clarifies important doctrines and raises new questions in the mind.  I have inserted the numbers of the pages of the original article at the page break for your convenience in citing the reference.

Because this is what he would like to have us teach our children, I further recommend parents of children old enough to understand and appreciate this talk to share the link with them. Parents of younger children can use this as a guide to suggest doctrines and principles they should teach their children to be adequately prepared to understand this profound address one day.  DWB.]

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WHAT I HOPE YOU WILL TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE TEMPLE

President Ezra Taft Benson

From an address given at the Logan Temple Centennial, 17 May 1984.

The last time I saw President Heber J. Grant was in the Church Administration Building when he was quite aged. President Grant’s chauffeur had driven him to the Church Administration Building where the chauffeur called for another brother to help him assist President Grant, one on each arm, to his office.

I was just entering the glass door opposite the Lion House in the Church Administration Building as President Grant was coming toward the door. He said to the two brethren assisting him, “Isn’t that Brother Benson coming?”

They replied, “Yes.”

He said, “Come here. Come here, Brother Benson.”

I walked over to him, and President Grant said, “Did I ever tell you about the mean trick Brigham Young played on your great-grandfather?”

I said, “No, President. I didn’t know Brigham Young ever played a mean trick on anyone.”

He responded, “Oh, yes, he did. I’ll tell you about it.”

I could see that these two brethren were practically holding President Grant up, so I said, “I’ll come to the house some time. I’d like to hear it.”

He replied, “No, I’ll tell you right here. These brethren can steady me while I tell you.”

He said, “You know where Zion’s Bank and ZCMI are over on the corner?”

I said, “Yes.”

He continued, “Your great-grandfather built the finest home in Salt Lake City on that corner, with the exception of Brigham Young’s home (which, of course, was the Lion House). He had it all finished. It was a beautiful home—two stories with a porch at both levels on both sides of the house. It had a white picket fence around it with fruit trees and ornamental trees and with a little stream running through the yard. He was all ready to move his families in from their log cabins when President Young called him into the office one day. ‘Brother Benson,’ he said, ‘we would like you to go to Cache Valley and pioneer that area and preside over the Saints. We suggest you sell your home to Daniel H. Wells.’

“Now,” President Grant said, “Daniel H. Wells was Brigham Young’s counselor. Wasn’t that a mean trick? Come on, brethren, let’s go.”

In all the years that I had attended the Benson reunions I had never heard that story. So I had it verified by the Church Historical Department, and they assured me that the facts were as President Grant related them. They told me they had a tintype picture of the old home.

Since that time, I have been most grateful for the so-called “mean trick” of President Young, because were it not for that, the Bensons would not have their roots in Cache Valley.

I love Cache Valley, and I love the Saints in the area. And I am most grateful to be here on this anniversary of the Logan Temple centennial. This beautiful temple has truly been a beacon of light to Cache Valley. If our children and their children are taught well, this edifice will continue to be a symbol of special significance.

The temple is an ever-present reminder that God intends the family to be eternal. How fitting it is for mothers and fathers to point to the temple and say to their children, “That is the place where we were / p. 8/ 1`married for eternity.” By so doing, the ideal of temple marriage can be instilled within the minds and hearts of your children while they are very young.

I am grateful to the Lord that my temple memories extend back—even to young boyhood. I remember so well, as a little boy, coming in from the field and approaching the old farm house in Whitney, Idaho. I could hear my mother singing “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” (Hymns, no. 58.)

I can still see her in my mind’s eye bending over the ironing board with newspapers on the floor, ironing long strips of white cloth, with beads of perspiration on her forehead. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, “These are temple robes, my son. Your father and I are going to the temple at Logan.”

Then she put the old flatiron on the stove, drew a chair close to mine, and told me about temple work—how important it is to be able to go to the temple and participate in the sacred ordinances performed there. She also expressed her fervent hope that some day her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren would have the opportunity to enjoy these priceless blessings.

These sweet memories about the spirit of temple work were a blessing in our farm home, our little rural ward of three hundred, and the old Oneida Stake. These memories have returned as I have performed the marriage of each of our children and grandchildren, my mother’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, under the influence of the Spirit in the house of the Lord.

These are choice memories to me, and I have often reflected on them. In the peace of these lovely temples, sometimes we find solutions to the serious problems of life. Under the influence of the Spirit, sometimes pure knowledge flows to us there. Temples are places of personal revelation. When I have been weighed down by a problem or a difficulty, I have gone to the House of the Lord with a prayer in my heart for answers. These answers have come in clear and unmistakable ways.

I would like to direct my remarks to you parents and grandparents. I would like to share with you what I would hope you would teach your children about the temple.

The temple is a sacred place, and the ordinances in the temple are of a sacred character. Because of its sacredness we are sometimes reluctant to say anything about the temple to our children and grandchildren.

As a consequence, many do not develop a real desire to go to the temple, or when they go there, they do so without much background to prepare them for the obligations and covenants they enter into.
I believe a proper understanding or background will immeasurably help prepare our youth for the temple. This understanding, I believe, will foster within them a desire to seek their priesthood blessings just as Abraham sought his.

When our Heavenly Father placed Adam and Eve on this earth, He did so with the purpose in mind of teaching them how to regain His presence. Our Father promised a Savior to redeem them from their fallen condition. He gave to them the plan of salvation and told them to teach their children faith in Jesus Christ and repentance. Further, Adam and his posterity were commanded by God to be baptized, to receive the Holy Ghost, and to enter into the order of the Son of God.

To enter into the order of the Son of God is the equivalent today of entering into the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is only received in the house of the Lord.
Because Adam and Eve had complied with these requirements, God said to them, “Thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.” (Moses 6:67.)

Three years before Adam’s death, a great event occurred. He took his son Seth, his grandson Enos, and other high priests who were his direct-line descendants, with others of his righteous posterity, into a valley called Adam-ondi-Ahman. There Adam gave to these righteous descendants his last blessing.

The Lord then appeared to them.

The vast congregation rose up and blessed Adam and called him Michael, the prince and archangel. The Lord himself declared Adam to be a prince forever over his own posterity.

Then Adam in his aged condition rose up and, being filled with the spirit of prophecy, predicted “whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the / p. 9/ latest generation.” All this is recorded in section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants (verses 53–56) [D&C 107:53–56].

The Prophet Joseph Smith said that Adam blessed his posterity because “he wanted to bring them into the presence of God.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 159.)

Here is an illuminating passage from Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants which tells us how Adam was able to bring himself and his righteous posterity into God’s presence:

“The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and tightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.

“This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in [order] … that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth.” (D&C 107:40–42; italics added.)

How did Adam bring his descendants into the presence of the Lord?

The answer: Adam and his descendants entered into the priesthood order of God. Today we would say they went to the House of the Lord and received their blessings.

The order of priesthood spoken of in the scriptures is sometimes referred to as the patriarchal order because it came down from father to son.

But this order is otherwise described in modern revelation as an order of family government where a man and woman enter into a covenant with God—just as did Adam and Eve—to be sealed for eternity, to have posterity, and to do the will and work of God throughout their mortality.

If a couple are true to their covenants, they are entitled to the blessing of the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. These covenants today can only be entered into by going to the House of the Lord.

Adam followed this order and brought his posterity into the presence of God. He is the great example for us to follow.

Enoch followed this pattern and brought the Saints of his day into the presence of God.

Noah and his son Shem likewise followed the same pattern after the flood.

Abraham, a righteous servant of God, desiring as he said, “to be a greater follower of righteousness,” sought for these same blessings. Speaking of the order of the priesthood, he said: “It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time … even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, our first father, through the fathers unto me.” (Abr. 1:2–3.)

So Abraham declared: “I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers.” (Abr. 1:4.)

Moses taught this order of priesthood to his people and “sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

“But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

“Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also.” (D&C 84:23–25.)

We learn through the Joseph Smith Translation that the Lord further instructed Moses: “I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof.” (JST, Ex. 34:1; italics added.)

This higher priesthood, with its attendant ordinances, was taken from Israel till the time of Jesus Christ.

My purpose in citing this background is to illustrate that this order of priesthood has been on the earth since the beginning, and it is the only means by which we can one day see the face of God and live. (See D&C 84:22.)

Between Moses and Christ only certain prophets possessed the right to the higher priesthood and the blessings that could bring men into the presence of God. One of these prophets was Elijah.

Elijah held the keys of the sealing power and did many mighty miracles in his day. He had power to seal the heavens, raise the dead, relieve the drought-stricken land, and call down fire from heaven.

He was the last prophet to hold the keys of the priesthood, according to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was subsequently translated and taken up into heaven without tasting death.

He, as a translated being, restored the keys of this priesthood to the Savior’s chief Apostles—Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. But within a generation, the Church was destroyed by a major apostasy, and the blessings of the priesthood were removed from the earth.

It took a new dispensation from heaven to restore this blessing to our day.

It is significant that the first revelation given in 1823, recorded as section 2 of the Doctrine and Covenants, gave this promise about the priesthood:

“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.

“If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (D&C 2:1–3.)

What priesthood was Elijah to reveal? John the Baptist restored the keys to the Aaronic Priesthood. Peter, James, and John restored the keys of the kingdom of God. Why send Elijah?

“Because he holds the keys of the authority to administer in all the ordinances of the priesthood,” or the sealing power. (Teachings, p. 172; italics added.) So said the Prophet Joseph Smith!

The Prophet Joseph said further that these keys / p. 10/ were “the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth.” (Teachings, p. 337; italics added.)

Even though the Aaronic Priesthood and Melchizedek Priesthood had been restored to the earth, the Lord urged the Saints to build a temple to receive the keys by which this order of priesthood could be administered on the earth again, “for there [was] not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost … even the fulness of the priesthood.” (D&C 124:28; italics added.)

Again the Prophet Joseph said: “If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (Teachings, p. 308.)

So the Kirtland Temple was completed at great sacrifice to the Saints.

Then, on 3 April 1836, the Lord Jesus Christ and three other heavenly beings appeared in this holy edifice. One of these heavenly messengers was Elijah, to whom the Lord said he had “committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse.” (D&C 27:9.)

Elijah brought the keys of sealing powers—that power which seals a man to a woman and seals their posterity to them endlessly, that which seals their forefathers to them all the way back to Adam. This is the power and order that Elijah revealed—that same order of priesthood which God gave to Adam and to all the ancient patriarchs which followed after him.

And this is why the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you.” (D&C 112:32.)
In a later revelation the Lord explained:
“In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;“And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

“And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

“He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.” &C 131:1–4; italics added.)

When our children obey the Lord and go to the temple to receive their blessings and enter into the marriage covenant, they enter into the same order of the priesthood that God instituted in the very beginning with father Adam.

This order entitles them to the same blessings of Abraham, of whom the Lord said that he “hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.” (D&C 132:29.)

Then He significantly added: “This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham.” (D&C 132:31.)

So again I emphasize: This order of priesthood can only be entered into when we comply with all the commandments of God and seek the blessings of the fathers as did Abraham by going to our Father’s house. They are received in no other place on this earth!

I hope you would teach this truth about the temple to your children and your grandchildren. Go to the temple—our Father’s house—to receive the blessings of your fathers that you may be entitled to the highest blessings of the priesthood. “For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” (D&C 84:22.)

Our Father’s house is a house of order. We go to His house to enter into that order of priesthood which will entitle us to all that the Father hath, if we are faithful. For as the Lord has revealed in modern times, Abraham’s seed are “lawful heirs” to the priesthood. (See D&C 86:8–11.)

Now let me say something else to all who can worthily go to the House of the Lord. When you attend the temple and perform the ordinances that pertain to the House of the Lord, certain blessings will come to you:

• You will receive the spirit of Elijah, which will turn your hearts to your spouse, to your children, and to your forebears.
• You will love your family with a deeper love than you have loved before.
• Your hearts will be turned to your fathers and theirs to you.
• You will be endowed with power from on high as the Lord has promised.
• You will receive the key of the knowledge of God. (See D&C 84:19.) You will learn how you can be like Him. Even the power of godliness will be manifest to you. (See D&C 84:20.)
• You will be doing a great service to those who have passed to the other side of the veil in order that they might be “judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (D&C 138:34.)

Such are the blessings of the temple and the blessings of frequently attending the temple.

So I say at this centennial commemoration of the Logan Temple: God bless Israel! God bless those of our forebears who constructed this holy edifice. God bless us to teach our children and our grandchildren what great blessings await them by going to the temple. God bless us to receive all the blessings revealed by Elijah the prophet so that our callings and election will be made sure.

I testify with all my soul to the truth of this message and pray that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will bless modern Israel with the compelling desire to seek all the blessings of the fathers in the House of our Heavenly Father.

Ezra Taft Benson, “What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About The Temple,” Ensign, (August, 1985), pp. 6,7-10, emphasis in the original.

Lets think together again, soon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is Utah's Undergraduate Education Stagnant Or Improving In Meeting Educational Objectives?

I just finished reading an interesting assessment of American higher education. It was written by Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University. In the late 1980s and early 1990s a spate of books came out critical of various aspects of higher education in America led by Allan Bloom’s, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (1987). Others were critical of liberals and intellectuals dominating and misdirecting the educational pursuit for personal and political ends. Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education had the subtitle of The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (1991). Bok’s book is also critical of the education establishment but for much different reasons.  

Bok looked at the traditional or historical and a few contemporary purposes of undergraduate liberal education and asked how the academy is doing in its efforts to meet these objectives. Those purposes were outlined in chapter 3 and subsequent chapters dealt with each one in detail. They included “learning to communicate,” learning to think critically, “building character,” “preparation for citizenship,” “living with diversity,” “preparing for a global society,” “acquiring broader interests,” and “preparing for a career.”

Bok argues that in virtually every case the colleges and universities of our land are not doing well in any of these categories. In some cases, such as character, the purpose was abandoned for a long time, but is now making a slow comeback. In relation to the others there is often apathy on the part of administration and faculty, or there is contention over the meaning, purpose, relevance, importance, as well as implementation of the these objectives. The result has been little movement and almost no internal assessment by the institutions themselves to see how well they are doing in meeting these societal expectations of undergraduate education. And when programs are in place there is almost no evaluation of the effectiveness of the teaching taking place. Administrators and faculty alike are abominably ignorant of the large number of studies that not only challenge the effectiveness of the traditional lecture method, but have also found a number of student-participatory and involvement strategies that are very effective.  So reform is slow if not non-existent.

Bok has two constant refrains, both having to do with research that has taken place the last 6 decades or more which has produced literally thousands of studies about the (in)effectiveness of universities, colleges, and departments showing that effective teaching can indeed influence each one. The maddening thing for the reader is that universities who are expert in evaluating almost every other institution in our society and recommending procedures for their improvement, are the very institutions which show the least interest in using or applying the findings to improve their own teaching and programs designed to meet the objectives of undergraduate education!  All of this, of course, raises serious doubts about the quality of undergraduate education America's young are receiving.

The mixture of apathy and pride lead to this failure to confront the issues or do much about them. Yet Bok believes in the genuine good intent of most American educators and that the problems can be fixed, despite the autonomy of most university faculties and departments. His recommendations, it seems to me, are sensible and practical. He suggests that state governments, accrediting agencies, and local school boards can have a significant impact on change and improvement, without being heavy handed.  Here are some of his arguments:
"A better role for government officials (and accrediting agencies) would be to examine what colleges are doing to assess their own performance and how they make use of what they find to attempt improvements. For example, does the institution participate in NSSE, and, if so, how vigorously does it act on the results? What steps does it take to examine its own teaching programs, identify significant weaknesses, and experiment with new methods? What efforts does it make to identify promising innovations in other institutions? Are there serious programs to train new teachers? Does the college make effective use of teaching evaluations and, if so, how well are they constructed? How much account is taken of teaching in making faculty appointments and promotions? Are funds regularly made available to faculty for trying and assessing new methods of instruction? 
...  If state agencies and accreditors began to concentrate on each institution’s processes for self-scrutiny and reform, college officials and their faculties would have to pay more attention to developing the procedures most likely to bring about educational progress. ... 
Government agencies and foundations could give further impetus for change by funding exemplary efforts by colleges to install a systematic process for evaluating educational programs, identifying problems, and experimenting with potential improvements.   ... Instead of financing specific innovations, public agencies and foundations would contribute to the creation of a continuing process to improve the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning. 
... 
Another useful step that foundations and funding agencies could take would be to support promising efforts to develop better ways of measuring and analyzing the progress colleges are making toward important learning objectives, such as improved critical thinking, moral and quantitative reasoning, writing, oral communication, and intercultural competence.   
...
Finally boards of trustees could give an added boost to reform by making a point of inquiring regularly into efforts by their colleges to become more of a learning organization."(1)
In this regard it would be interesting to survey Utah’s university and college presidents and boards, as well as those in our government charged with oversight of those institutions, to see how well our schools do with self-evaluation of both their success in meeting the objectives of undergraduate education and of the effectiveness of teaching in reaching these goals. I would like to know if Utah undergraduate institutions are guilty of the same problems which beset most of American universities, or if we are doing anything positive to bring about assessment, innovation, reform, and improvement?

Let’s think together again, soon.


Notes:

1. Derek Bok,  Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), pp. 331-333.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Hundred-Sixty Books That Have Changed My Life

ONE HUNDRED-SIXTY BOOKS THAT HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE©
(Every book I've read has changed my life in some way.)
Updated 29 December 2016
Orhan Pamuk observed, "I read a book one day and my whole life was changed."(1)   Pat Williams explains further, "We are changed by what we read. Close that book, and you are not the same person anymore. Because of what you just read, your worldview--your understanding, your compassion for others, your ability to engage intelligently with others--has expanded a little. Books help us grow...."(2)

1. The Book of Mormon, stimulated a question and answered a spiritual quest which, at age 17, changed the course of my life more than any other single book.

2. Nephi Anderson, Added Upon, a love story that taught me the skeleton of the plan of salvation.

3. Manachem Begin, The Revolt, one man's revolt and resistance is another man's terrorism.

4. Daniel Boorstin, The Americans: The National Experience, showed me even the history of ice harvesting in New England can be interesting if the story is told right.

5. Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, at a fairly young age, my first real experience with the joy of having my imagination stimulated through reading.

6. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, one of the 10 best books I've read. Edersheim was a profound thinker, sensitive believer, and passionate writer.

7. Eugen Kogon, Theory and Practice of Hell, brought me face-to-face with the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

8. Paul de Kruif, Microbe Hunters, a great early encounter with the fascinating world of scientific discovery.

9. George Buttrick, The Parables of Jesus, the wisdom and eloquence of a thinking man, which began for me a life-long love affair with the parables.

10. Edward Gibbon, The Autobiography of Edward Gibbon, an early foray into the life of the mind, feeding my own interest in the same.

11. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, began my acquaintance with one of the best Christian thinkers. He has been a life-long favorite. The Screwtape Letters, showed me the psychology of temptation and the motivations of evil–with humor.

12. Helen Keller, Teacher, the magnificent struggle of a blind girl guided by a gifted teacher.

13. Jack London, The Call of the Wild, also piqued my imagination; for many years I thought I wanted to live in the Alaskan wilds. I eventually grew out of it.

14. Sterling McMurrin, The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion, my first exposure to two important things–Mormon philosophy and B. H. Roberts.

15. Truman Madsen, Eternal Man, a brief introduction to several classic philosophical issues from a Mormon perspective. Introduced me to a man who later became a respected friend.

16. Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, the profound lessons and philosophy of life growing out of surviving the suffering of three grim years in Auschwitz and other prisons.

17. Irving Stone, Agony and Ecstasy, of being Michelangelo--the commitment and pain required to be the world's greatest artist.

18. Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery, awakened an awareness of the evils of slavery and racism and the thrill of seeing one rise above his circumstances and limitations through optimism, perseverance and education.

19. B. H. Roberts, The Gospel and Man's Relationship to Deity, a grand systematic treatment of Mormonism. His style captivated me for life. He is one of Mormonism's greatest thinkers and most articulate (and passionate) writers.

20. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea, continued to sensitize me to women's issues and introduced a gifted female author which encouraged me to look for more.

21. Leonard Mosley, Lindbergh.  Tragedy stalked a truly American hero.  I wept when he was buried in Hawaii, almost an outcast.

22. Samuel Smiles, Happy Homes and the Hearts that Make Them, recommended by Vaughn J. Featherstone as one of his favorites. I wanted it for years; finally a kind student tracked it down for me.  It is in the public domain and now much easier to obtain through the Internet.

23. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, the greatest reading experience of my life, outside of holy writ. A 1000 page description of a Christian saint. Includes the greatest thing I've ever read about the mental struggle a man goes through to decide to do the right thing when his freedom and even life hang in the balance.

24. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, where I discovered the Prophet as a simple yet profound thinker, teacher, and scriptural interpreter. The catalyst for one of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life. The most important reading I've done outside of the scriptures. 
25. Gilbert Highet, The Immortal Profession, gave a deep sense of the importance of my profession and initiated me into the world of the psychology and philosophy of an educator.

26. William Shakespeare, Complete Plays and Poems, simply the greatest writer in the English language, if not any language. This is close to, if not on top of my personal top ten (not counting scripture). Profundity expressed in elegance and eloquence that appears deceptively simple. It has to be studied before it can be read for enjoyment. Pay the price and you will enjoy the life-long benefits.

27. James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, there is not a wasted word in this magnificent portrayal of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. It came at a time when I was awakening to the idea that my mind really worked and that using it is one of the great pleasures in life. The single greatest contributor to my vocabulary of which I am aware.

28. Benjamin Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, a rags to riches story which is not about money, but the mind.  You gotta love his mother!

29. Malcom Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success, challenges popularly held views about the factors of success. The chapter on the 10,000 hour rule is worth the price of the book.

30. Ben Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, probably my first, and perhaps most significant, self-help book.

31. William J. Lerderer, The Ugly American, a shock to my high school naivete.

32. Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, the tale of a very wise woman who endured the horrors of the concentration camp along with her sister and father, for hiding Jews from the Nazis. An amazing portrayal of resilience, faith, and forgiveness.

33. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, a portrait (pun intended) of the degrading effects of unbridled hedonism.

34. Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book, among other things, helped me see reading as a great dialogue between author and reader.

35. Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the one and only time I finished a 700 page book and said aloud, "No, you can't quit now!"

36. Robert M. Prisig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, an intriguing mixture of genius and insanity.

37. Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, an early exposure to high-level aphorisms and poetry.

38. John Holt, Never Too Late, My Musical Life Story, a man plans for his old age and diminished capacities.

39. Chaim Potock, The Chosen, a peek into the world of the development of a Jewish intellectual.

40. Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Manhood of the Master, perhaps sermon or lecture notes, but some wonderful insights into the character of Jesus, always of interest to me.

41. Sydney J. Harris, Pieces of Eight, a collection of brief essays by one of America's most thoughtful and articulate columnists at the time.

42. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, required reading for a historiography class, it was so unintelligible and uninteresting at the time that I've never had an interest in Marx's philosophy.

43. Feodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, a dark soul commits murder, but through the love of a woman seeks redemption.

44. Kenneth Bailey, Poet and Peasant, A Cultural and Literary Study of the Parables in Luke, significant insights into the stories of Jesus garnered from Arab culture while he lived in the Middle East.

45. Samuel Heilman, The Gate Behind the Wall: A Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, an examination of a Jewish boy's yeshiva and of love for Jewish holy books.

46. David McCullough, John Adams, an inspirational account of one of the most important founding fathers.

47. Philip Hallie, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, the captivating story of a French village, led by a local priest, who sequestered Jews from the Nazis.

48. Jay Mathews, Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, a man who succeeded in inner-city LA among poor and disadvantaged Latinos.

49. Denish De Souza, Illiberal Education, an India-born articulate conservative exposes the hypocrisy of American liberal educational philosophy and policy, and launched a career as a conservative social commentator.

50. Linda Atkinson, In Kindling Flame, The Story of Hannah Senesh, 1921-1944, a heart-stopping story of a young Jewish girl who migrated to Israel before the war, trained as a paratrooper, returned to her homeland to aid in the resistance, was captured and finally executed just hours before her town was liberated.

51. Joe Paterno, Paterno: By the Book, a man who is not only a legendary football coach, but one who was chairman of the fund raising committee and donated the first $100,000 to the new Penn State Library. He wanted a library the football team could be proud of, or rather, of which the football team could be proud!

52. Michael Medved, Hollywood vs. America, an expose of the mixed up motives and values of tinsel town.

53. Sterling W. Sill, Leadership, my first exposure to this man's voluminous writings. Some accuse him of being the apostle of the gospel of success, but having read most of his works, I see him quite differently.

54. Michael Montaigne, Essays, introduced me to a new genre of literature and encouraged my search for additional writers with wisdom.

55. Charles Edward Jefferson, The Character of Jesus, provoked a lot of marking, marginal notes, and outlining. I love his style and was surprised when it turned off one of my colleagues. Different strokes....

56. James Newton, Uncommon Friends, a serendipitous find; the kind you come across while browsing in a bookstore rather than read about in the New York Times book review section. This man was friends with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh.

57. John H. Groberg, The Fire of Faith, the amazing faith-filled experiences of a Mormon missionary in the South Seas in the 1950s.

58. Michael Shaara, Killer Angels, a novel about Gettysburg that takes you down into the smoke, noise, confusion and fear of the battlefield. A Pulitzer Prize winner.

59. Vance Havner, The Best of Vance Havner, the homespun wisdom of a most thoughtful Baptist preacher. Few people have said some things as well as Havner.

60. James Bradley, Flags of Our Fathers, the gut-wrenching, yard-for-yard battle of Iwo.

61. B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor, the life of one Englishman who became a defender of the faith, by another Englishman who became a defender of the faith. Probably my first great experience with a biography–which turned into a life-long love.

62. Bel Kauffman, Up the Down Staircase, great humor about a high school, read when I was in high school.

63. Thomas Morris, The Art of Achievement, a potent distillation of thought about success in the business of life.

64. George Orwell, 1984, even in high school I viewed this as scare propaganda, but I've lived to see "big brother" invading our privacy more and more. Five years after the due date, Communism collapsed. So, if we become totalitarian now we will likely do it on our own.

65. John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage, short political biographies that won the prize for him and inspired me.

66. Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, the first time I considered the internal and external evidences for the Book of Mormon from one of the most original and creative thinkers in Mormonism.

67. John Wooden & Steve Jamison, Wooden on Leadership, Principle with a capital "P" guided his life and his coaching. And the man never stopped trying to figure out how to do it better; refining his principles and teaching them more clearly.

68. H. W. Brands, Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, grew my appreciation for one of the controversial Presidents, and wait till you read the story of Sam Houston rushing his young son to Jackson’s bedside to meet him before the old warrior died.

69. Jack London, The Sea-Wolf, my first post-mission-president fictional reading. A classy love story, not set in the cold north as with much of London's writing, but on the high seas.

70. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, simply stated, one of the 10 best books I've read. When she finished writing it she was disappointed, because she said, "For 10 years, I got up and spent every morning with Abraham Lincoln." One could do worse. See a longer statement in my recommended reading on leadership.

71. Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell, Shackleton's Way, one of the most captivating adventure stories of all time, but the character and leadership of the man was unique in his time and ours. It inspired and edified me greatly.

72. Dallin H. Oaks, Life’s Lessons Learned,  surprised by the simple, practical, and unusual lessons shared by an intellect once considered a candidate for the Supreme Court.

73. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, a poignant and powerful look at the spirit of Christmas.

74. Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln's Sword, was his pen! Wanna appreciate the power of the well crafted word both written and spoken and a man who could do it better than most? Try this winner.

75. Derek Bok, Our Underachieving Colleges, opened my eyes to the complexity of issues in higher education which in my naivete I oversimplified.

76. Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons, a play about character and dying for one's principles.

77. John Hershey, Hiroshima, like an atom bomb, small but powerful!

78. John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, some would say this is dry reading, but it has been a huge stone in the foundation of my gospel understanding, especially how the kingdom is governed.

79. Robert Augros and George Stancui, The New Biology: Discovering the Wisdom in Nature, not written as an intentional rebuttal to evolution, but shows another side of the story--cooperation in nature. And, where are the missing-links between a dolphin and a whale, which apparently just shows up without antecedents in evolutionary history?

80. Neville Shute, On The Beach, an imaginative story of the last survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

81. Neal A. Maxwell, "For The Power Is In Them", my first experience with Elder Maxwell. What a discovery for my spiritual and intellectual life.

82. John Wooden, They Call Me Coach, my first exposure to Wooden. It was so interesting to me, that my reading speed increased as I read it. As you can tell from the number of times he appears in this list, he has become one of my heroes.

83. Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, believe-it-or-not, my mission president had us read this. At the time I was put off by Hill's style, but it was my first introduction to the genre of modern success and self-help literature and to Hill himself. I read more of Hill on my second mission, but didn't make it required reading for the missionaries.

84. Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, O Jerusalem, the amazing story of the fight for Jerusalem during the 1948 Jewish war for Independence, with vignettes from the Jewish, Arab and British points of view.

85. Betty Edwards, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, recommended by one of my best friends (who happens to be a very successful artist); anyone can learn to draw if they will study, learn and practice. Becoming an artist is another thing altogether!

86. John Milton, Paradise Lost, a very difficult read from one of the world's most brilliant minds. However, I discovered that with the right kinds of aids in the book, even I could learn from and enjoy most literature. This one also requires study before reading for enjoyment.

87. Parley P. Pratt, Key To The Science of Theology, read soon after my first mission, Pratt's style and subject interested me and propelled me forward in the study of Mormon theology.

88. George Adam Smith, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land, awakened in me a love for the Holy Land and for historical geography that has never waned.

89. Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball, Twelfth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an honest and eminently engaging story of a small man who was one of the spiritual giants of Mormonism.

90. Robert Spencer, ed., The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, 589 pages of essays regarding Islamic philosophy and practice towards non-Muslims.

91. John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a Victorian type novel of a love affair between a gentleman seafarer and a former governess.  I’m still struggling with the surprise endings.

92. Abraham H. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being, one of the more worthwhile books I was required to read in the pursuit of a BS in psychology. However, I wasn't intellectually mature enough then to appreciate it.

93. Wesley P. Walters, New Light on Mormon Origins from Palmyra (N.Y.) Revival, a small anti-Mormon pamphlet which I read in 1967. It was my first encounter with above-average anti-Mormon literature (if there is such a thing), that set me off into the world of defending Mormonism.

94. Le Grand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, read while at Idaho State College just before my mission. I learned from one of the great missionaries in the Church a bit about teaching the gospel.

95. Stephen L. Carter, The Culture of Disbelief, what to do about the threat to trivialize faith and religion in American culture.

96. Albert Schweitzer, Out of My Life and Thought, I don't know when or what stimulated my interest in this man, probably the idealism of youth, but it seems like I have always wanted to know about him.

97. Nathanial Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, my first (high school) encounter with Puritanism.

98. Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living, Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life, warm and wise counsel about life.

99. Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, the story of one of the great men of Mormonism by one of its better authors. During the first year of my teaching career it hooked me on Mormon biography.

100. Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika, read at the time Communism was on its way out.  This book convinced me that Gorbachev's openness was for real, though many around me thought he was the typical deceitful Russian.

101. Jim Lovel and Jeffrey Kluger, Lost Moon, The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, I even missed seminary to watch the space launches I was so fascinated by the subject. Somehow, I missed this amazing adventure story until I read this book, which is much better than the movie, as usual.

102. John C. Maxwell, The 360 Degree Leader, Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization, not my first introduction to Maxwell who is today's apostle of leadership, management, and success, but it is representative of his work, which I found personally beneficial as well as helpful as a Mission President.

103. Plato, Collected Dialogues, this required diligent and hard work for 1,600 pages, but I did it! But, with not as much as I should have to show for it. Clifton Fadiman says Plato read at 20 is one thing, at forty another, and yet another at 60. I'm over sixty, so maybe it is time to try it again.

104. Danel W. Bachman, "A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage before the Death of Joseph Smith," I wrote it as a master's thesis at Purdue University in 1975. How can that not change your life?

105. Alan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, a hard-hitting critique of the failures of higher education in America.

106. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, mammoth, but my endurance was bolstered by a life-long interest in learning about WW II.

107. Hyrum Andrus, Joseph Smith the Man and the Seer, one of the first and more impactful of many biographies of Joseph Smith I have read over a lifetime.

108. James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, this book on the power of thought and thought control is a major life-changer for many people who read it, including me.

109. Edward F. Murphy, Heroes of World War II, Stories of Medal of Honor Winners in the War. Moved my interest in courage, valor, and hero worship a giant step forward.

110. Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics, a collection of editorials and opinions.  Those  that effected me the greatest related to war and Islam.

111. The Standard Works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price), the most important, influential, and life-changing books I have ever studied. I love them and they have an on-going impact on my life on a daily basis.

112. Robert Trumbull, The Raft.  A WW II bomber crew downed in the Pacific with nothing, suffered terribly but survived thirty-four days.

113. James Bentley, Secrets of Mount Sinai, Konstantin Tischendorf's discovery and purloining of the famous Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai. Became all the more meaningful after two opportunities to visit that library!

114. George Edward Clark, Why I Believe: Fifty-four Evidences of the Divine Calling of Joseph Smith.  A unique approach to the subject, one which has caused me to generate my own such list over five decades. 
115. Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring, I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring, is chucked full of life-lessons about fatherhood, church leadership, and diligence in getting close to and following the Spirit--all things I wish I would have encountered when I was twenty.

116. Bill Sands, My Shadow Ran Fast, an almost incredible account of a San Quentin convict who reformed and made a success of his life.  Begins with his mother beating him with a rose bush cane!

117. Newt Gingrich, with Ross Worthington, Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate, the title says it.  It expanded my mind into new realms, heretofore not considered.

118. Gordon Leidner, ed., The Founding Fathers: Quotes, Quips, and Speeches, at age 71 on a trip to Colonial Virginia, gave a big boost to my patriotism and love of country.  Much of it was copied into my Commonplace Files.

119. David W. Bercot, Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today’s Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, a critique of Evangelical Christianity by an insider was refreshing, educational, and thought provoking.

120. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel, introduced me to the realities of the life of a Muslim woman. She  abandoned the traditions, rose to political stature in Europe, but because she spoke against Islam, her life is now sought by the fundamentalist radicals.

121. Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, of great help to me, both personally and as a handbook during the three times I served as a bishop.

122. Leo Tolstoy, What Men Live By, a short story about a cobbler who receives three divine lessons.

123. Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, introduced me to  America’s entry into WW II, the first and best of his Liberation Trilogy.
124. C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, a busload of people are taken from Hell to Heaven, but it doesn’t turn out to be what they expect. 
125. Hugh Nibley, The Myth Makers, my first exposure to an analysis of anti-Mormon literature. 
126. Peter Hellman, Avenue of the Righteous, stories of “gentiles” who saved Jews from the Nazis, commemorated at the Yad Vashem memorial of the holocaust in Jerusalem. 
127. Sar A. Levitan, and Richard S. Belous, What’s Happening to the American Family?  isn’t good, and has only worsened since I read this in 1982. 
128. Deitrick Bonhoeffer, Letters & Papers from Prison, wartime writings of a great Christian who sadly was eventually executed by the Nazis. 
129. Ezra Taft Benson, A Labor of Love, the wonderful and miracle filled story of Elder Benson’s work to help restore the Church in Europe following WW II. 
130. Howard Hibbard, Bernini, the biography of a great Italian Renaissance sculptor, read during a period when I wanted to add more culture to my life. 
131. Yigail Yadin, The Temple Scroll, gave me a new perspective on the cultural background of a number of passages in the New Testament. It was interesting to be taught about Christian things by this famous Jew. 
132. Andy Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction Of Temple Ordinances And The 1944 Mormon Succession Question,” MA thesis, BYU, 1982, the beginnings of exposure to a deeper meaning of the temple and its ordinances. 
133. John Tolland, Battle: The Story of the Bulge, the story of the German counter-offensive after Normandy.  The courage, determination , and suffering of the allies in the thick of winter cold de-glamorized war. 
134. Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet; with a little help and personal effort I really could understand the great prophet! 
135. Yigail Yadin, Masada, an amazing story of Jewish resistance and Roman persistence which became legendary; all overlooking the Rift Valley and the Dead Sea. 
136. Januz Korczak, Ghetto Diary, story of a man who went to his death with the children of his orphanage at the hands of the Nazis.  Became an instant hero to me. 
137. Brent L. Goates, He Changed My Life, miraculous stories about President Harold B. Lee. 
138. Rex R. Eastman, The Liberty Book of Quotations, the first book(let) I mined for great quotations; a habit that is still with me. 
139. Thomas Friedman, From Beirut To Jerusalem, a well written very readable journalists account of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 
140. Liva Baker, Oliver Wendell Holmes, an interesting biography of an important Chief Justice of the Supreme Court which heightened my interest in the crafting of words. 
141. Irene M. Bates and E. Gary Smith, Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Patriarch, beginning of my studies when I was called as a patriarch. 
142. William J. Bennett, The De-Valuing of America, a conservative’s view of the weaknesses and errors of liberal philosophy and politics. 
143. Suzy Platt, Respectfully Quoted; how the staff of the Library of Congress have tracked down and verified popular quotations. 
144. Wayne Gretzky with Rick Reilly, Gretsky, An Autobiography, the story of the “Great One” in the history of hockey.  His passion produced an almost unmatchable skill on the ice, yet he seems to have remained a humble, average type guy. 
145. Alan Shepherd and Deke Slayton, Moon Shot, contains a memorable description of seeing, while re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, a meteorite coming in at two narrow of an angle and skipping off the atmosphere like a rock on a pond.  That was almost worth the cost of the book.
146. Edgar A. Guest, A Heap O’ Livin’, a collection of poems; in my own very unsophisticated way, I love many of Guest’s homespun poems, like “It Takes a Heap O’ Livin To Make A Home.” 
147. Melvin S. Tagg, “The Life of Edward James Wood,” master’s thesis, BYU, 1959, every Latter-day Saint should know about E.J. Wood, a most unusual man of faith, work,  and miracles.  
148. B. C. Forbes, The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, one of the best compilations in my rather extensive collection of books of quotations. 
149. Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, I gave a negative review of this book at a Mormon History Convention, and lost a potential friend. 
150. Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, amazing evidence from a non-Mormon scholar that the Bible really was tampered with by those who won the theological battles of the early centuries.  Unfortunately, it was one step in the man’s losing his faith in Christianity altogether.
151. Gale E. Christianson, Edwin Hubble, Mariner of the Nebula, the bio of one of the greatest astronomers of all time. 
152. John Lewis Lund, Understanding Your Patriarchal Blessing, a whole history lays behind my association with John and the eventual publication of this book, all of which helped prepare me to soak up its message for me as a new patriarch. 
153. Vladimir Posner, Eyewitness: A Personal Account of the Unraveling of the Soviet Union, something I never expected to see in my lifetime and which I consider one of the great miracles of our age. 
154. Loren C. Dunn, Prepare now to Succeed on Your Mission, the beginning of extensive reading when we were called to preside over the California Roseville Mission. 
155. Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People, didn’t affect me the first time I read it when a teenager as much as it did when I was a mission president. 
156. Adrienne Koch, Jefferson and Madison, The Great Collaboration, story of the friendship of two of my heroes.  Both died on 4 July 1828!  No coincidence I think.... 
157. Margaret Barker, On Earth as It is in Heaven: Temple Symbolism in the New Testament,  my first exposure to this wonderful Methodist preacher, who has since written a shelf-full of books about the theology of the ancient temple, and through serendipity has become a beloved personal friend. 
158. Dallin H. Oaks, His Holy Name, expanded from a 1985 talk in General Conference which taught me more clearly the purpose and power of the Lord’s name. 
159. Hafen, Bruce C.  Covenant Hearts: Why Marriage Matters and How to Make It Last, answered a question I have been searching for, for about fifteen years.  We wept by the bedside as we read it together. 
160. Hall Urban, Life’s Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter, a short and easy read, with a powerful, thought provoking message good for any age, but especially important to the young.  I bought copies for each of my grandchildren.  I wished I would have read it before I served as a mission president.
Let's think together again, soon.

Notes:

1.  Orhan Pamuk, in Bits & Pieces, September 2014, p. 23.

2.  Pat Williams, in Bits & Pieces, (September 2007), p. 21.